He is joined by Lamar Jackson of Louisville and Baker Mayfield of Oklahoma. The winner will be announced December 8 at the ESPN College Football Awards Show presented by Home Depot from the College Football Hall of Fame in Atlanta.
Watson won the award in 2015, the first Clemson quarterback to be so honored. He also won the Manning Award after the bowl season.
The junior signal caller has led Clemson to a 10-1 record so far this year and a 28-3 mark over his career. He has completed 279 of 420 passes for 3279 yards and 28 touchdowns so far this year. His 66.4 completion percentage is ninth best in the nation and his 28 touchdown passes rank sixth.
Watson also has 422 rushing yards and four scores, giving him 3,701 yards of total offense, an average of 336.5 yards per game. Two weeks ago he set an ACC record with 580 passing yards against Pittsburgh and his 52 completions rank second best in league history.
For his career, Watson has accumulated 705 completions in 1048 attempts for 8,849 yards and 77 touchdown passes. He has 10,579 yards of total offense and 98 touchdowns rushing and passing. His 98 total touchdowns rank fourth among active FBS players.